The Sons of Judas (The Blessed Apostles)
After the death of Herod the Great in 4 BCE there arose a great number of disturbances, and pretenders to the throne. In Idumea two thousand of Herod's veteran soldiers got together, and fought against those of the king's party; against whom Achiabus, the king's first cousin, fought, and that out of some of the places that were the most strongly fortified; but so as to avoid a direct conflict with them in the plains.
"There was also Judas, the son of that Hezekias who had been head of the robbers; which Hezekias was a very strong man, and had with great dificulty been caught by Herod. This Judas, having gotten together a multitude of men of a profligate character about Sepphoris in Galilee, made an assault upon the palace [there,] and seized upon all the weapons that were laid up in it, and with them armed every one of those that were with him, and carried away what money was left there; and he became terrible to all men, by tearing and rending those that came near him; and all this in order to raise himself, and out of an ambitious desire of the royal dignity; and he hoped to obtain that as the reward not of his virtuous skill in war, but of his extravagance in doing injuries."–Josephus, "Antiquities"
"Yet was there one Judas, a Gaulonite, of a city whose name was Gamala, who, taking with him Sadduc, a Pharisee, became zealous to draw them to a revolt, who both said that this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery,...Judas and Sadduc, who excited a fourth philosophic sect among us, and had a great many followers therein, filled our civil government with tumults at present, and laid the foundations of our future miseries, by this system of philosophy..."–Josephus, "Antiquities," XVIII:1:1.
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"And besides this, the sons of Judas of Galilee were now slain; I mean of that Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius came to take an account of the estates of the Jews, as we have showed in a foregoing book. The names of those sons were James and Simon, whom Alexander commanded to be crucified."–Josephus, "Antiquities," XX:5:2.
It is this crucifixion which occurred in 47 CE which clearly ties the sons of Judas to the Apostles of Jesus. Since the Romans practiced religious tolerance the conspirators changed the date of the event to 44 CE, during the rule of Agrippa I, to make it seem like religious persecution by the Jews. This event is covered in Acts with a slight variation. Acts has Peter escaping with the aid of an angel. However, after this event the author is moot as to Simon/Peter's activities until he makes a cameo appearance, in the apochryphal 'Acts of Peter,' sometimes during the 60s for his crucifixion. In reality, that 'Peter' who was taken back to Rome and crucified, was the Sicarii leader Simon bar Giora who was captured by Terentius Rufus, in the subterranean tunnels and caves beneath Jerusalem, at the end of the siege by the Romans, not Simon bar Jonas.
Testimony of the Apostles
According to scripture Jesus had 12 apostles because there are 12 thrones of glory and 12 tribes of Israel. While most of the names of the apostles mentioned in the four gospels correspond, there are a few distinct differences. Both Mark and Matthew are identical: Simon Peter, James son of Zebedee, John brother of James, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot. However, the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles pass over Thaddeus and insert Judas the brother of James.
This discrepancy, startling in and of itself, is nothing compared to those in the Gospel of John which lists only 9 apostles whose names differ from those in the Synoptics. James son of Alphaeus, Judas brother of James or Thaddaeus, Bartholomew, Matthew and Simon Zelotes are missing while the never before mentioned apostle Nathanael of Cana and the 'Beloved Disciple' are added. However, even some of these have to be questioned as the apostles John and James are only mentioned in the 21st chapter which was written some 80 years later. When you consider that even the Church admits that John's gospel only dates back to the second half of the second century, then you must realize that this gospel was not complete until the mid third century.
What we know from the "Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine" and also the Gospel of Mark is that the apostles of Jesus were called Boanerges, or "Sons of Thunder."
"Peter, like all the other apostles was called Son of Thunder"–Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine.
"And James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder."–Mark 3:17.
Now, remember that the Catholic Church has labeled these early versions of the gospels as false or apochryphal because they are not in accord with the four canonical accounts. However, you cannot help but realize that the name "Sons of Thunder" does not exactly fit the description of the Apostles as the pious Jews we are led to believe they are in the New Testament.
Simon Peter has three terms used to describe him: Barjona, Canaanite, and Cephas. Now, Barjona is Greek for the Aramaic word meaning "fugitive from justice." Canaanite is Greek for "qanana" which corresponds to zealot, i.e. a revolutionary extremist, and Cephas meaning rock is the description given him because of his muscular build.
"...and Simon called Zelotes."–Luke 6:15.
"...and Simon Zelotes..."–Acts 1:13.
Thomas and Theudas being the nicknames of Judas, Jesus' brother, is confirmed not only by the Novum Testamentum but also by the Acts of Thomas (Apocrypha) and by Eusebius of Caesarea (Church History I).
Jesus had four brothers, these were James, Simon, Jose and Thomas. He is also said to have had several sisters, but these are never identified. Some Roman Catholics claim that these “brothers” were actually Jesus’ cousins. However, in each instance, the specific Greek word for “brother” is used. While the word can refer to other relatives, its normal and literal meaning is a physical brother. There was a Greek word for cousin, and it was not used. Further, if they were Jesus’ cousins, why would they so often be described as being with Mary, Jesus’ mother? There is nothing in the context of His mother and brothers coming to see Him that even hints that they were anyone other than His literal, blood related brothers, or half brothers.
"NOW it came to pass, while Fadus was procurator of Judea, that a certain magician, whose name was Theudas, persuaded a great part of the people to take their effects with them, and follow him to the river Jordan; for he told them he was a prophet, and that he would, by his own command, divide the river, and afford them an easy passage over it; and many were deluded by his words. However, Fadus did not permit them to make any advantage of his wild attempt, but sent a troop of horsemen out against them; who, falling upon them unexpectedly, slew many of them, and took many of them alive. They also took Theudas alive, and cut off his head, and carried it to Jerusalem."–Jewish Antiquities, XX: 5.1 and Church History II: 12.
Now, there was Judas called Iscariot which stems from the Hebrew word Ekariot meaning cutthroat. The group known as the Sicarii after the name of their curved daggers were believed to be a more violent branch that broke off from the Zealots.
"...When the country was purged of these, there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarii (Ekariots), who slew men in the day time, and in the midst of the city; this they did chiefly at the festivals, when they mingled themselves among the multitude, and concealed daggers under their garments, with which they stabbed those that were their enemies; and when any fell down dead, the murderers became a part of those that had indignation against them; by which means they appeared persons of such reputation, that they could by no means be discovered."–Josephus, "Jewish Wars" II: 13.3
As we can see from the descriptions these individuals were no different than their father Judas, so in order to accomplish their goal the gospel redactors had to make a few changes. They changed barjona into two words bar meaning son in Aramaic and capitalized the I (J sound) to make it say bar Jona or "son of Jonah." For this reason Simon Peter is the only one referred to with the Aramaic word bar while every other character is referred to using the Greek word "uios."
"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jô’na: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."–Matthew 16:17,18
The redactors once again relied on geographic locations to change qanana which means zealot into Canaanite or citizen of Cana which of course is not true for all of these individuals came from Gamala which is on the eastside of the Sea of Galilee. This city was a hotbed of revolutionary fervor and was totally annihilated by Vespasian.
These redactions are verified by Bishop Victor of Tunnunum, who died about 569 A.D. and whose work, says CE., “is of great historical value,” says that in the fifth century, “In the consulship of Messala, at the command of the Emperor Anastasius, the Holy Gospels, as written Idiotis Evangelists, are corrected and amended.”–Victor of T., "Chronica," p. 89-90; cited by Dr. Mills, Prolegom. to R.V., p. 98.
The conspirators were not as anxious to convert the seditious Judas Iscariot into a pious Apostle since he was from Judea and not from Galilee. However, they still tried to clean up his act and at least make him presentable. To accomplish this feat they once again resorted to a geographic location, claiming that his name came from the fact that he was born in Kerioth. This is another one of those redacts that has made religious scholars cringe when trying to explain how Mark, who was a Cyrean Jew living in Israel most of his life, knew nothing about Israeli geography. You see Kerioth much like Nazareth never existed.
They defined the meaning of the word Zealot in the gospels as meaning zealous of love towards the Lord, Mark 3:18, Matthew 10:4, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13. However, it is obvious that members of this royal Hasmonean family were not zealous for the Lord, but zealous to become Lords of Israel.
It is often stated that Philo of Alexandria never made mention of Jesus in his writings. However this is not altogther true.
"If they did not receive what they asked for, they burned the houses of those who refused and then killed them with their families"–Philo of Alexandria
"for they parted themselves into different bodies, and lay in wait up and down the country, and plundered the houses of the great men, and slew the men themselves, and set the villages on fire; and this till all Judea was filled with the effects of their madness."–Josephus, "Jewish Wars" II: 13.6
In another passage Josephus equates the Zealots with the Essenes: "They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends" –Jewish Antiquities XVIII: 6.
In the Garden of Gethsemane they were armed with swords, "When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?"–Luke 22:49
"And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear."–Matt. 26:51, Mark 14:47, John 18:10
"I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled…Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father¸ the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."–Luke 12:49
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